Document cameras are an invaluable aid to learning, as they enable you to take something small – a piece of work by a student, a page from a book, a drawing or mindmap – and make it larger than life for all to see. If you are looking for ideas on ways to use a document camera in the classroom you’ve come to the right place. We’ve got not one, but 12 different ways to use a document camera in your classroom that you and your students will love.
How can you make the most of this incredible tool in your classroom? Let’s dive in!
How to Use a Document Camera in the Classroom?
1. Read and write together
Take your handout, or page from a book, or other printed material, and place it under the document camera. You can now read to your students while they can all see the text. Or have students take turns reading, and follow along yourself with a highlighter or pen so that everyone knows where you are.
No more ‘where were we, Miss?’ when it’s the next person’s turn to read!
One of the biggest benefits here is that if you’re reading something with pictures, everyone can actually see the picture without you having to hold it up and walk from one end of the classroom to the other!
This is powerful for younger children: now, everyone can see the pictures.
2. Show how to annotate a piece of writing
You can show students how to annotate pieces of writing so that students understand how to read, analyze and interpret material.
You can also get students to practice annotating in groups and then display their results using the document camera. Students can then explain their work without having to rewrite anything on a whiteboard.
3. Mark up graphs or maps together
Graphs, charts, maps, any kind of diagram works here. You can show students details on a topography map, or highlight aspects of a statistics chart, or correct the numbers on a math graph.
If your document camera connects to your whiteboard, you can have students come to the board to work while everyone observes.
You can create diagrams and graphs in real time, enabling students to understand how they can then create their own diagrams and graphs.
The document camera also makes it easy to label diagrams together as a class, or for you to model first and then the students continue.
4. Make science come alive
See the details of a leaf, identify the parts of an animal, or demonstrate a dissection.
Show up close what happens when ingredients are mixed in a test tube, or when coloring is added to water.
Some document cameras can be connected to a microscope, so you can all see the cells at the same time without having to figure out how to pass one microscope around among 30 learners.
If your document camera has a scan feature, you can take pictures as you go along to then be used for a homework assignment, a quiz, or a test.
5. Show a process in pictures
Have your students take pictures with the document camera as their experiments progress. They can document their projects as their plants grow from seeds, as bacteria grow in a petri dish, as a caterpillar becomes a butterfly, etc.
Some document cameras have a video recording feature, allowing students to record any process you wish. This can be drawing a picture, building a model, or something else.
6. Liven up Show and Tell
How many times have you had a child bring in a beautiful shell, or a medal, or a tiny toy, only to have half the class complain that they can’t see it? Now everyone can see it together, and in great detail!
If your document camera has a remote, you can hand the remote to one of your students so that they can do all of the presenting themselves.
7. Model math or other operations
A document camera presents an ideal way for teachers to model a procedure or demonstrate a rule. You can model the task for your students before they do it themselves.
You can also create a pattern or other model that you show on the camera. You can then provide students with the materials to copy that pattern independently.
8. Show off students’ best work
Nothing can be more rewarding for some students than to have their work shown as an example for others. You can pop a workbook right under the camera and ask the students about it, or show them what works, what doesn’t, etc.
Or you can pick up a workbook from another class and ask the students to correct it for you 😊 Then correct it live so they can check their answers.
9. Show how to use technology
It’s sometimes easier just to do something for someone than to explain how to do it, right? Now you can show the whole class.
Pick up one of the tablets, scientific calculators, or other tool that your students might be struggling with. Show them all how to use it – you only have to do it once!
You could of course get another student to do this for you – they get more validation, and you get the job done for you. Win-win!
10. Go over quizzes or tests together
You’re going to love that your document camera can allow you to pick up a quiz or test, pop it under the camera, and be able to review it with your class. No need to make Word documents or to scan student tests.
11. Play games together
Teach students about probability using a dice game. Teach students vocabulary using flashcards underneath the camera.
12. Bring lesson content to life
Study a historical artifact or painting together. Put a troglodyte under the camera and study its details.
Top Recommended Document Camera for Classroom Use
- Great for livestreaming. Perfect for zoom or other meeting / teaching platforms.
- Download free Visualizer software which allows you to use this camera like a webcam.
- Record and Store HD Video.
- Easy to connect to a TV or a projector.
- Compatible with all major operating systems, including Mac, PC and Chromebook.
As you can see, the possibilities for a document camera in the classroom are endless! No need for pages of handouts, bulky overhead projectors with transparencies, or PowerPoint-driven lessons. Document cameras make it easy to incorporate just about anything into a lesson. Get yours, and enjoy!